How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to iPhone

transfer photos

How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to iPhone

Key Points:

  • If you have iCloud Photos enabled, all your photos are already synced and available to all devices connected using the same Apple ID.
  • Apple’s AirDrop function is probably the best way to transfer photos from iPhone to iPhone without having to use iCloud, iTunes, or any third-party software.
  • Transferring photos from a macOS Mojave to iPhone requires iTunes.
  • Transfers using Windows and older versions of macOS (pre-Catalina) are possible but are risky.

Ever since the release of the first iPhone in 2007, the release of a new, subsequent model has become an annual occurrence at Apple. Despite their ongoing support for old hardware and now-antiqued models, users eventually have to upgrade to a newer model. In fact, in the world of smartphones, your phone is considered outdated if it’s over two years old—but not iPhones.

Despite their longevity, upgrading to a newer model has its benefits, like better performance, more storage, and a better camera. This leads us to the following question: what happens to the photos on your old device? This guide will discuss how to transfer photos from iPhone to iPhone, allowing you to access and enjoy the moments captured on your new device.

How Can You Transfer Photos from iPhone to iPhone?

There are several ways of transferring photos from one iPhone to another. Admittedly, two of these methods involve transferring one phone’s entire data. This includes all of your photos and contacts, as well as select files you marked for transfer. The third method, AirDrop, is the best possible option for transferring select (or all) photos from iPhone to iPhone.

Transfer Photos using iCloud

transfer photos
Using iCloud to transfer photos.

Using iCloud to transfer photos from iPhone to iPhone is perhaps the best possible option. It allows you to back up the entire data from your old iPhone and restore it on your new device. This includes not only photos but videos and other data as well.

This also allows you to transfer data between different Apple devices, including iPhones, macOS devices, and even Windows PCs. However, both the sending device and the receiving device need to have iCloud enabled through the same Apple ID credentials. In fact, if you have iCloud Photos enabled, all your photos are already synced and available to all devices connected using the same Apple ID.

Using iCloud: Step by Step

For the purpose of this section, we’ll assume that you’re transferring data from an older iPhone to your brand-new device. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Make sure that your old and new devices are nearby and that the old device is connected to the local Wi-Fi network.
  2. Power on your new iPhone and follow the onscreen instructions until you see the Quick Start screen. Make sure to connect the new iPhone to the same Wi-Fi network as the previous model.
  3. A prompt asking you to Set Up New iPhone will appear on your old iPhone.
  4. Confirm the Apple ID that appears, and tap Continue.
  5. Hold your previous iPhone over your new iPhone so that the animation displayed on the new device appears in the camera circle on the older model.
  6. Once the animation is scanned, the new iPhone will ask you for the previous iPhone’s passcode.
  7. Enter your passcode, and continue with the setup until your reach the Transfer Your Data screen.
  8. Select Download from iCloud. You’ll be presented with the Terms and Conditions. Tap Agree to continue.
  9. A new screen will appear, prompting you to select and review data that will be transferred to your new iPhone. Tap Customize to select Photos if they’re not already selected, and then tap Continue.
  10. Your previous iPhone will begin backing up data, including your photos, apps, messages, contacts, etc., to iCloud. If you don’t have enough available iCloud space, you’ll get free temporary iCloud storage to complete the backup.
  11. Once the backup is completed, a Restore from iCloud screen will appear on your new iPhone.
  12. Once the progress bar is complete, you can start using your iPhone. However, not all apps, photos, music, or other data can be accessed immediately. Some of it will continue to be restored in the background.

Apple just recently implemented this process as a seamless method of transitioning between older and newer devices. It’s great as it eliminates the need for setting up and restoring backups manually and having to subscribe to additional iCloud storage if the 5GB of free storage is at its capacity. Admittedly, it might take a while, depending on the size of the backup, but the process basically clones everything from your old iPhone into a new, more powerful, and modern device.

Transfer Photos Using AirDrop

transfer photos
Using AirDrop to transfer photos.

Apple’s AirDrop function is probably the best way to transfer photos from iPhone to iPhone without having to use iCloud, iTunes, or any third-party software. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Make sure that AieDrop is functional on both iPhones. You can do this by swiping down from the upper-right corner of your screen to open Control Center.
  2. Open the Network Settings card in the upper-left corner to expand the card.
  3. Touch and hold the AirDrop button and choose Everyone.
  4. Next, open the Photos app on the iPhone from which you’re sending the photos.
  5. Go to the photo you want to share and tap the Upload icon (usually located in the lower-left corner of the screen).
  6. If you want to share multiple photos at once, tap the bottom right corner of other pictures to select them for transfer.
  7. After you’ve tapped the Upload icon, a range of sharing options will appear at the bottom of the screen.
  8. The nearby devices with AirDrop enabled should appear above the rest of the sharing options.
  9. Tap the name of the receiving iPhone to initiate the file transfer.
  10. You’ll have to press Accept on the receiving iPhone to allow and complete the transfer from one iPhone to the other.

The photos will be transferred to the Photos library on the recipient’s iPhone.

Transfer Photos from iPhone to iPhone using a Computer

The only drawback of the previous method is that it’s reserved for individuals transitioning from the older model to a newer iPhone. But what happens when you need to transfer photos between two iPhones without having to employ iCloud backups? Well, your personal computer can also help you transfer files.

This method works on both Windows PC and Mac. It involves using iTunes on the former and Finder on the latter. Before we start, there are a couple of things you should know about using this method.

  1. You can only transfer photos from your Camera Roll.
  2. You can’t transfer photos with iTunes if you use iCloud Photos (which you should be using). However, if you choose to turn off your iCloud Photos, all the photos in your iCloud will be deleted.
  3. While the photos on your device would remain unaffected in case you turned off iCloud Photos, mishandling iTunes can lead to syncing mistakes, and the program can overwrite your current photo library, leading to data loss.
Transferring photos from a macOS Mojave to iPhone requires iTunes.

Transfer Photos using a Mac

Now that we’ve covered all the important information, it’s time to transfer the images from iPhone to iPhone using a Mac.

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac via a USB cable
  2. Launch the Photos App, select your device, and select the photos you want to transfer.
  3. Click Import Selected or Import all new items to import the photos.
  4. Once the transfer is complete, disconnect one iPhone, and connect the receiving device.
  5. Launch the Finder app, select your device, and click the Photos header in the upper section of the window.
  6. Check the Sync photos to your device from and select Photos from the drop-down menu.
  7. Click Apply to sync the photos.

Transferring photos from a macOS Mojave to iPhone requires iTunes. If you’re using macOS Mojave or an older version, please skip to Step 7 of the following section.

Transfer Photos using Windows PC

Transferring photos from iPhone to iPhone can be done using Windows PC and iTunes. Here’s how.

  1. Connect your iPhone to a PC or a laptop via a USB cable.
  2. Open the Photos app, and click on the Import button in the upper right corner.
  3. A drop-down menu will appear, select From a USB device and select your iPhone.
  4. A pop-up window will appear asking you which photos you want to select for import.
  5. Once you’ve selected the desired photos, click Import.
  6. After the transfer is complete, you can disconnect your iPhone from the computer.
  7. Install the latest version of iTunes.
  8. Connect the other iPhone to your PC (or macOS Mojave) via a USB cable.
  9. Launch iTunes and click on your device icon.
  10. Click the Photos header, check the Sync Photos option, and choose an application or folder.
  11. Click Apply to sync the photos.

Transferring Photos from iPhone to iPhone: Final Words

Apple has really gone to great lengths to make data transfer between their devices as seamless as possible. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for transfers using Windows and older versions of macOS (pre-Catalina) due to the risks associated with said transfers. We recommend using iCloud for transfers between an old and a new iPhone, or AirDrop to transfer photos between two functional devices. Regardless of which method you choose you can check out the video below to learn more information about transferring your photos.

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Frequently Asked Questions

I just bought a new iPhone; how can I transfer photos from my old device?

Assuming that you have an old functioning device, the best approach is to use iCloud to transfer photos, as we described in our guide. Using iCloud will copy over all data ad settings from your old device to your new one. It basically brings the comfort of an old device to modernized and more powerful hardware.

I want to transfer a few photos to my friend; how can I do that?

The best option for sending select photos to another iPhone is by using the AirDrop function.

How many pictures can you AirDrop at once?

There’s no limit to how many photos you can send using AirDrop.

Is there a way to make the iCloud transfer faster?

Yes, you can delete all the data you deem unnecessary. This includes all the many attempts at the perfect bathroom selfie. The same applies to videos. You can always back these up to your computer and delete them from your iPhone to make the transfer faster.

Do you need Wi-Fi for AirDrop?

No, AirDrop is actually based on Bluetooth technology to create a connection between two iPhones, and therefore it doesn’t require Wi-Fi to function.

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